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trine of the resurrection, though it may seem to some unessential, to others incredible, and to all mysterious; was labored by the Apostles, as a most discriminating point—a point on which the whole gospel scheme was suspended. Reject this doctrine, therefore, and to be consistent, the whole book of divine revelation is to be
HAv1NG briefly discussed the doctrine of the resurrection of the dead, one great end of which is, that all mankind may be made to appear, in their true character, before the judgment seat of Christ; we now proceed to the doctrine of the final judgment of the world. On this great and interesting doctrine, the holy scriptures are very plain and explicit; as might well be expected, since it is a doctrine made known, only by divine revelation. This doctrine, when revealed to mankind by divine inspiration, appears, on many accounts, to be highly reasonable and important ; but without a revelation from God, it could never have been determined whether it were reasonably to be expected or not ; or whether it were expedient or inexpedient that God should judge the world. In the light of the holy scriptures, we clearly see it to be of infinite importance, that God should bring all his rational and accountable creatures before his judgment seat, that he might make a public display of his infinite wisdom, righteousness, goodness, mercy and faithfulness in his administrations. It is highly important, not only that God should do right, but also, that he should display his righteousness, in all his administrations, and in the view of all his intelligent creatures. And, in what way can this be done more effectually, than by a full and complete exhibition of every character, before the assembled universe Accordingly it is written, |
and by all candid minds, it is believed, that “God hath
crets of men. . But he does this great work by Jesus Christ. Christis ordained of God to be the judge of quick and dead. . So that the great Judge of the world is to be a visible God and Judge. “Behold he cometh with clouds, and every one shall see him, and they also who have pierced him; and all the kindreds of the earth shall wail because of him.” Oh, who can stand before his indignation When Christ appears in the clouds of heaven, he will appear in the same form in which he ascended, in the presence of his disciples. Accordingly, when his disciples saw him ascend to glory, it was announced to them by the attending angels, that “this same Jesus, who was taken up from them into heaven, should so come, in like manner as they had seen him go into heaven.”
By Matthew, the Evangelist, we have the most plain and literal account of the coming of Christ, at the last
great day, and of the process of the final judgment.
* When the Son of man shall come in his glory, and all the holy angels with him, then shall he sit upon the throne of his glory, and before him shall be gathered all nations, and he shall separate them one from another, as a shepherd divideth his sheep from the goats. And he shall set the sheep on his right hand, but the goats on the left. Then shall the king say to those on his right hand, Come ye blessed of my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you, from the foundation of the world. For I was an hungred, and ye gave me meat, thirsty, and ye gave me drink, naked, and ye clothed me.” In this .# , they had expressed their friendship to Christ by deeds of charity to his followers. “Then shall he say also to them on his left hand, Depart from me, ye cursed into everlasting fire, prepared for the devil and his angels. For I was hungry, and ye gave me no meat, thirsty, and ye gave me no drink;” § have exhibited a character in this life, unfriendly to your brethren, and to your Saviour, who is to be your final judge. The conclusion is, that “these shall go away into everlasting punishment, but the righteous into life eternal.” Thus it appears, that Christ will be the Judge of the world; and that the judgment will be administered according to the character which is formed in the present life; which is the only probationary state. All beyond is endless joy or endless pain. Of how long duration the day of judgment will be, we know not. Suppose it to be a thousand years, according to human reckoning of time; this, according to the figurative style of the scriptures, may be called a day. Such may any period of time be denominated, whether definite or indefinite. The period will doubtless be of sufficient duration for the trial and adjudication of all the holy anels, men and devils. For, when Christ shall come in his glory, he will bring all his holy angels with him; and itis said, “God spared not the angels that sinned, but cast them down to hell, and delivered into chains of darkness, to be reserved unto judgment.” “And the angels that kept not their first estate, but left their own habitation, he hath reserved in everlasting chains, unto the judgment of the great day.” All these, together with the unnumbered millions of the human family, will have their whole characters so fully investigated, that they will appear to the assembled universe, in their true light. Probably, in the resurrection state, when mortal man shall have put on immortality, and when death shall be swallowed up of life, mankind will be made capable of a very rapid and intuitive discovery and comprehension of characters #. sented to their view. Yet, being finite and limited in their conceptions, they must comprehend objects, and measure time, only by succession. This being the case, a common day would be insufficient for so great a work, as that of the final judgment of the world. Further, In the minds of many, it is doubtful whether the sins of the redeemed, or of the saints, will be brought to light, in the final judgment. Their sins are said to be not only forgiven and pardoned; but also to be blotted out, covered, and remembered no more. In reply to this, it may be observed, that these particular expressions are evidently designed to teach us the full, final and absolute pardon of the sins of the penitent; rather than their being forgotten, in a literal sense ; or blotted out of the book of God’s remembrance. That God should forget our transgressions, and not literally remember our sins, is absolutely impossible. These expressions, therefore, are doubtless used in a metaphorical sense. But when it is said, “God shall bring every work into judgment, with every secret thing, whether it be good or whether it be evil;” there is no appearance of metaphor. These words do not admit of any other construction but that which is literal. The testimony is plain, that the whole character of every individual, whether saint or sinner, shall be fully exhibited. This, in numberless instances, will be found necessary to a full and perfect exhibition of the character of sinners. Saints and sinners are often connected together, more or less, in sinful conduct : So that, to reveal the sins of one, necessarily reveals the sins of the other. To bring to view the sins and imperfections of the saints, in the final judgment, will be also necessary, that their various degrees of glory may appear to be just and right. To expose to view the sins of the saints, at the day of judgment, will be necessary to a proper manifestation of their repentance, faith, humility, meekness and hope in Christ; and of the riches of divine grace, in their forgiveness and salvation. Nor will any christian, who is made perfect in glory, be at all unwilling, that God should glorify himself, and display his justice and his grace, in bringing every one of his works into judgment, with every secret thing, whether it be good, or whether it be evil. It hence appears, that the day of judgment and final retribution will be a very great, solemn, and interesting day. It will reveal the secrets of all hearts; and terminate in the final and unspeakable blessedness of all the saints ; and in the perdition of ungodly men. Not only will the glory of God be most richly displayed, by the final result of the great day of accounts; but rebellion will be crushed forever. It will newer more be excited against the holy kingdom of Jehovah. Nor will the state of finite beings ever again be altered. “He that is unjust, let him be unjust still ; and he that is filthy, let him be filthy still ; and he that is righteous, let him be righteous, still ; and he that is holy, let him be holy still. And behold I come quickly,” says the great Judge, and my reward is with me, to give to every man according as his work shall be. I am Alpha and Omega, the beginning